Gathering Activities for Under 5s
Small children like structure and routine and so we tend to keep our gathering activities the same for each service. The activities aim to give children a personal welcome, help them feel comfortable about being in church and prepare them for worship.
Finding Bobby Bear
Before each service a soft toy is hidden somewhere in the church. The children are asked to look for him – even the two year olds often come into church asking "Where's Bobby Bear?"
When he has been found he is passed from child to child as a greeting: "Hello Polly" "Hello Thomas". He is then placed on the table to "watch" what is happening.
This activity affirms and welcomes each child individually, while looking round the church gives them opportunities to explore and feel confident in the church building.
Lighting a candle
The children are helped to light a candle which is then placed on the altar. In Christian worship, the candle is often thought to symbolise Jesus as the light of the world; lighting the candle reminds us that he is always with us.
We have also found that the ritual of lighting a candle calms the children and helps them to focus.
We always begin with the same song so that it becomes part of our gathering activities. The song includes actions, but in addition the children have the chance to play instruments or have ribbon rings to wave.
From our head to our toes
From our ears to our nose
To the tips of our fingers
God loves me!